Regional burns outreach program : Raising awareness in a developing nation

Dr Andrew Cheah1, Professor Kok Chai Tan1, Associate Professor Chee Liam Foo1, Dr Tzuemn Ling  Low1, Adj Asst. Professor Si Jack Chong1

1Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore


Background: The burden of Burn injury in Bangladesh is significant, every year approximately 800000 people in Bangladesh sustain Burn injuries. In 2003, it was the 5th leading cause of childhood injury, with a total of 173,000 children sustaining Burn injuries. In 2016, Sing-Health and the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched the 3-year long Bangladesh Burns Capacity Enhancement training program. The program aims to train and educate specialists and nurses in Bangladesh in the prevention and management of burns, rehabilitation and reconstructive surgery.

Objective: We aim to increase Burn awareness in Bangladesh by the development and placement of Burns Awareness posters in public areas.

Methods: In an effort to raise awareness effectively, we conducted surveys in 2018 and 2019 to identify risks for Burn injury specific to the country. The surveys were conducted in English on Burns health-care professionals.

Results:  Of the 160 health-care professionals surveyed, 50% were nurses, 34% were doctors, and 16% were allied-health. 45% of the health-care professionals surveyed have had 1 to 2 years of experience managing Burns patients, 25% had 3 to 5 years of experience and 30% had more than 5 years of experience. 90% of health-care professionals agreed that there was no Burns awareness program in Bangladesh. 5 dangers for Burn injury were identified, from highest risk to lowest risk: hot water, oil lamps, overloaded power-sockets, exposed overhead electrical cables and kitchen fires.

Conclusion: Burn awareness is a key element in preventing Burn injuries. Positioning awareness messages appropriately is important for raising awareness effectively.


He, S., Alonge, O., Agrawal, P., Sharmin, S., Islam, I., Mashreky, S. and Arifeen, S. (2017). Epidemiology of Burns in Rural Bangladesh: An Update.

Mashreky SR, e. (2008). Epidemiology of childhood burn: yield of largest community based injury survey in Bangladesh. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Available at: [Accessed 14 May 2019].


Prof Tan Kok Chai is a Senior Consultant with the Dept of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery.

Graduated from Monash University Medical School. Did basic surgical training in Australia before working in England to obtain Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), England. Started Plastic Surgical training in Canniesburn Hospital Glasgow under Mr I A Mcgregor and David Soutar. Return to Singapore General Hospital Plastic Surgery Department and had HMDP at Emory University Atlanta Georgia Plastic Surgery Department.

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